Posts Tagged ‘weekend sewing’

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

After sharing lots of skirts (this one and these) I am back with a simple breezy summer-y button-up tank, which I’m sure will get lots of wear this August. This top is one of the many simple garment patterns in Caroline Hulse’s debut sewing book Sew Caroline Weekend Style. The folks at Fons and Porter asked if I would review the book and I knew right away that I wanted to make the button-up tank.  The whole book is full of colorful, easy-going patterns from shorts to flip flops and pool totes.  The bright, playful style of the book is classic CarolineTops like this one are really the sweet spot of sewing.  They are easy to pull together and uncomplicated to wear. As for this button-up tank, It fits true to size and is the perfect casual top for a trip to the park. A total win. The neck opening is a little wider than I am used to but I like how it gives it a semi-boatneck scoop.

I’m especially proud of this little button-up tank because I made it entirely out of repurposed fabric.  This lovely cotton-rayon mix used to be hanging, all lonely-like, in the Goodwill and I was able to rescue it and eek out this top after deconstructing it.  New life born out of the old! Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitchBreezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch But enough about the top, let’s dive into the book.  There is a lot to love about this one.

Things you will love about this book:

+ Great for Beginners: The sentiments, easy and uncomplicated, make up the ethos of this sweet sewing book and I love that.  It makes the book accessible for beginners.  Given my passion for garment sewing I will always have a soft spot for beginner garment patterns.  It opens the world of garment sewing to newbies and this book definitely accomplishes that. None of the patterns have complicated closures, darts or zippers so anyone can pick up and enjoy making something.  At the same time, all the projects are actually things you would wear.

+ Easy to Follow: Instructions in the book are straightforward and clear and are accompanied by descriptive pictures. All in all, it makes it easy to follow along. Also, the book is beautiful, which is always inspiring.

+ Awesome Sewing Information:  The book introduction includes lots of vital information on sewing basics…yet another reason this is great for beginners.

+Variety! Every project in the book is wearable and useable but it runs the gamut from a headband, a pool tote, a tank dress to flip-flops! There is something for everyone.

Things You Might Not Love:

+ PDF Patterns: The patterns in this book are pdf patterns on a CD.  I know everyone has an opinion on this one and some people love having a PDF they can print over and over again. Personally, when I buy a book I usually expect it to come with paper patterns so I can skip all the printing and taping (in addition to the added cost of printer ink!). It’s not that I don’t sew with pdfs, I do all the time actually, it’s just my expectation is different when I purchase a book. This one may or may not bother you.

+ Little Stuff: There are a few nit-picky things I found as I worked through the book.  First, I had a hard time finding the seam allowance for the patterns, it is 1/2″ for the record, but the information wasn’t immediately clear.  It’s a small thing (possibly a little nit-picky?) but I like when the seam allowance is repeated on each project so it’s easy to uncover without having to dig through the book.


Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

Also, while making the button-up tank I realized the pattern didn’t have the buttonhole marking displayed on the pattern. I reached out to the publisher and Caroline emailed me in response. As it turns out, this was overlooked by the publisher and they have since corrected it on the cd.  So, in all, no big deal.

It was an interesting experience, actually. Fons and Porter were happy to hear from me and Caroline was quick to respond and work with the publisher to be sure the pattern was corrected on the cd. The process of making a craft book is so complicated, there are just so many moving parts.  Just as happens in my real life, stuff slips through the cracks and a beautiful book needs some after-the-fact tweaking. I was happy to see they were laid back about the whole thing.

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

Overall, it’s a beautiful, inspiring book for someone interested in diving into garment sewing.  Of course, it goes without saying that it would qualify as a great gift for a beginning sewing, possibly paired with 2 or three yards of fabric!

Note: I was given a free copy of this book for review from the publisher Fons and Porter but all opinions are my own. I received no financial compensation.

Butter Yellow Leather Bag

buttery yellow leather bag from weekend sewing - made by a happy stitch

It’s my opinion that Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross is one of the more lovely sewing books out there and ever since I opened up that beautiful tome I’ve been dying to make the leather bag.  I was scared, however, of sewing with leather on my regular machine.  And, for that matter, I didn’t know how to go about getting my hands on soft, supple leather.  As a result, it took me forever to sew up this buttery yellow bag, which only makes it more wonderful to be able to say VIOLA! It’s my butter yellow leather bag! I mean, look at that scrumptious leather! I finally found it at Denver Fabrics. It’s lined with some of the Pendleton wool left over from my Wiksten dress.

butter yellow leather bag from weekend sewing made by a happy stitch

Here is the nitty gritty on this pattern and this bag.

Things I love about this pattern:  It’s simple to construct.  In true Heather Ross form the pattern is easy and clear.  It looks complicated with all the hardware and the little bit of leather at the top in the inside of the bag but it isn’t.  Same goes for the side of the bag with the strip of leather, it’s easy to make.

butter yellow leather bag from weekend sewing made by a happy stitch

Things I don’t love:  The bag is droopy. It looks cool but isn’t really practical for everyday use. I needed to use soft, supple leather so it would sew smoothly on my machine but that makes for a soft, smooshy bag and I like my bags to have more structure.  This is especially the case considering all that heavy hardware.  When I set this bag down it flops and then clanks when the hardware hits the ground and it sits there looking like a dog toy.    The bag strap is too weak & the pattern has you simply tie knots to hold the strap in place.  Considering living my life is the equivalent of being inside one of those ‘sturdiness testing’ machines they have out at Ikea (you know the kind that perpetually sucker punch a piece of furniture…of course, mine would need wheels so it could roam), I need bag straps that can hack it in harsh conditions!

butter yellow leather bag pattern from heather ross, made by a happy stitch


Of course, all in all I’m proud of working with leather and doing it on my home machine! I will totally use this bag when I go places with hooks and without my kids.

p.s. this post include affiliate links to Amazon.  If you click on them & buy something I get a few cents. Thanks!

how to hug a teeny tiny heart

one of my oldest, dearest blogging friends, mary frances from this is marzipan, has just had a baby girl and has the great joy of bringing a bit of estrogen into her otherwise all-testosterone world (like me, she has two boys).  I’m a little jealous to be honest.  unfortunately, some of the joy has a little dark cloud shadow hovering over it because the baby was born with a heart condition and her teeny tiny, beautiful heart has already met with knives and highly skilled doctors.  as they say in my family, uff da.  it’s more than a grown-up heart can handle.

of course, mary frances and her family are taking it in stride and with great strength and grace…an amazing feat given what they must soldier through.

for my part, I had to find a way to hug that teeny, tiny hard-working heart so I made two little kimono shirts.

birdie heart hugger

the pattern is from the heather ross book weekend sewing.  this kimono style wraps twice around the front, that is the hug.   but, also, the fact that it is easy to open up in the front will hopefully be helpful during her recovery.

sleepy night heart hugger

I love this simple easy pattern and there really isn’t anything more satisfying than making clothes for little babies.  especially since I rarely get to create for girls.

side of birdie heart hugger

the fabric’s are from my stash, of course.  one is a soft, loose-weave japanese print and the other is a soft flannel.  I’m really fond of how the japanese print decorates the chest.
reaching branch heart hugger

my only gripe with this pattern is that it always seems to leave a little pucker and extra bulk at the armpit. I think it might be the technique: the sleeves are sewn in before the body side seams are sewn.  the final stitch sews together both the bottom arm seam as well as the side of the body (essentially sewing a 90 degree angle from arm down to body) and I think it might be inevitable that this technique is not as smooth as actually inserting a sleeve properly.  anyone else have this problem?  the shirt is not tight so I doubt it will bother baby girl, it’s simply a sewist investigation.

wrinkled arm heart hugger

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